Belfast Telegraph

Monday 5 October 2015

Doctor told Savita Halappanava abortion was against Irish law

By Greg Harkin

Published 09/04/2013

Savita Halappanavar
Savita Halappanavar
Savita's husband Praveen Halappanavar

A senior doctor has admitted telling Savita Halappanavar that she could not terminate her pregnancy because it was against Irish law -- but has denied there was a risk to her life at the time.

Dr Katherine Astbury was named as the doctor who told Savita a termination could not be carried out because Ireland was a Catholic country, as the inquest into the young dentist's death got under way.

But a HSE lawyer said the consultant obstetrician will "categorically deny" ever making any reference to Ireland "being a Catholic country".

And the barrister added that Dr Astbury will also tell the inquest that there was no risk to the life or health of 31-year-old Savita at the time the termination request was refused.

A dispute over the separate versions of events arose as Savita's husband Praveen was being cross-examined during an emotional inquest before a jury of six men and four women.

At one stage the case had to be adjourned as Praveen, who chose to read his own statement to the hearing, broke down in tears.

Savita was 17 weeks pregnant when admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21 last year. She died a week later from suspected septicaemia, days after she lost her baby.

Praveen disputed the sequence of events surrounding the termination requests -- alleging that two requests for a termination were made on Monday October 22, a day after Savita was admitted to the hospital.

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